Cultivating and tending a garden was more than a pastime for colonial settlers, learning what fruits and vegetables would grow in the unfamiliar soil and climate of a new world. Experimenting with transplanting, fertilizing, companion planting to extend the growing season and yields, was a matter of survival, providing food for the table.
Centuries later, machines of the industrial age enabled households to sow acres of land, agrarian life transitioned to an economic livelihood, gardening known as farming. Crops were taken to market, sold as commodities, feeding a new working class of people, the food on their table by another’s hand, gardening became just a hobby.
For the average homeowner today, the garden is a lawn, biological deserts maintained to be a carpet of homogenized turf, eliminating any trace of biodiversity, woodland trees cut down so weekends can be spent cutting grass, any pleasure has become a chore.
Dandelions were once brought from Europe as a medicinal herb, packed with vitamins and minerals, detoxifying and digestive aid, antioxidant, boosting immunity, anti-inflammatory pain reliever. One of the first greens of spring, the Algonquin used as a tonic, invigorating and energizing the body out of winter slumber. An early season source of nectar and pollen for bees, supporting the larval and maturing stages of butterflies, food for white tailed deer, turkeys, and rabbits.
A relative of sunflowers, dandelions too often are only known as a weed, a nuisance, opportunists thriving in a crack or field, sun or shade, developing long taproots in wet or dry soils to return year after year, littering lush green landscapes with irregular, erratic, interrupting dots of yellow.
What will tomorrow’s garden be?
…maybe, wild gardens of unnamed creatures, neither flowers nor weeds, simply fertile beds for life, sprouting, budding, blooming, pollenating, seeding. This desire and pursuit of continuation, wu wei, may also very well be the most sustainable model for our future architecture.